Sunday, August 5, 2012

NYC Fire Museum

The New York City Fire Museum is a wonderful, educational museum.  Not only does this gem offer a child-friendly fire simulation, but it houses hundreds of FDNY antiques it has been gathering since 1934.  

My personal favorite antique was a sign that read "Faithful and Fearless."  (I would really like that in my home some day).

You and your crew can try on the fireman's gear--all the way to the breathing mask and oxygen tank.

There were several beautiful fire engines, that may just make your child want to go and save souls from fires.

There were some mannequins completely dressed in fireman's gear so children know not to be scared of them. If children see them during a fire, they should follow the guy in the gear.

Before you go into the simulation they will have you watch a movie from Allstate. This movie was shown in schools in NYC and I think they showed it in schools when I was a kid.  It has some catchy music and succeeds in getting everyone excited about fire safety. If you'd like to use it in a family night or something you can find part one and part two.

Once in the simulation you will go into a faux-apartment into the faux-bedroom when faux-smoke will stream in through the door. They'll show the fire dangers, which in normal light appear harmless, but when the ultraviolet light it on you see all the dangers.

The volunteer fireman will talk you and your children through the process of escaping your home on fire.  A child will feel the door to see if it is hot or cold. If the door/handle is cold they will go out the door, if it were hot they would go out the window.  Then they open the door carefully. The room will be full of faux-smoke and the children will lead the way crawling and feeling along the wall to the exit out of the apartment. . . the description may not sound thrilling but the children will feel empowered knowing exactly what to do.

My four-year-old, after going to the museum ran into the kitchen and with gusto exclaimed, "Mom, if you catch on fire; stop, drop and roll." He proceeded to show me what to do in the next room.  It was a proud, validating moment.

The museum is not pay-what-you-wish and not free, except for once a year on September 11, to honor their fallen friends.  The museum is free to NYNJPA, DSNY, FDNY and NYPD and their family members, and to those that have the Cool Culture Pass as well as to active service members during the summer (part of the Blue Star Museums program). Visit their website: for more information.

This reminds me. . . I need to move my fire alarm further from the bathroom.